It’s one more month till the premiere of the sixth and final season of “The Good Fight,’’ and I can’t wait.
Not because “The Good Fight” is one of the best, smartest, and most unpredictable shows on TV, though this topical, politically edgy legal drama by Robert and Michelle King (which released a trailer Wednesday for the upcoming season) is indeed all of those things.
What has whetted my anticipation for the Sept. 8 premiere on Paramount+ is the imminent arrival in the “Good Fight” cast of Andre Braugher. This is an actor who has been not just a standout but a lodestar in every series he’s appeared in.
According to Deadline, Braugher will play Ri’Chard Lane, “a showman lawyer and rainmaker” who becomes a new name partner at the law firm in “The Good Fight,” which features Christine Baranski and Audra McDonald. Lane is described as “a force of nature,” a “wild mix of brilliance, geniality, religion and joyful hedonism,” and also “a handful.”
That sounds like a role that will require some of the versatility that’s always been Braugher’s calling card.
You want a portrait of a skilled tactician at work? Check out Braugher’s searing portrayal in the 1990s of Frank Pembleton in “Homicide: Life on the Street,” a shrewd homicide detective who often elicited confessions from the suspects he interrogated in “The Box.”
You want a poignant study of a man struggling with middle age and its discontents? Check out Braugher’s portrayal of car salesman Owen Thoreau Jr. in the criminally short-lived comic drama “Men of a Certain Age” (2009-11). Owen battled anxiety, diabetes, his weight, and the fact that he hated his job at a dealership owned by his overbearing father. “I really dug this character,” Braugher once said of Owen. “I dug the fact that he’s struggling for competence and not succeeding.”
You want note-perfect comedy? Check out Braugher’s deadpan performance as Captain Raymond Holt, the gay, cerebral, cultured, hyper-formal commanding officer of the 99th Precinct in “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.” (2013-21). On a series packed with funny characters, Braugher’s Holt was the funniest.
Three summers ago, I reviewed Braugher’s performance at Williamstown Festival of Johnathan Payne’s play “A Human Being, Of a Sort.”
Inspired by a real story, “A Human Being” is set in 1906 at the Bronx Zoo, where a member of the Mbuti people, of the Congo region of Africa, was kept, half-naked, in a cage on which were written the words “Primate House.” At Williamstown, a bewhiskered Braugher played a guard named Smokey who grew increasingly troubled by the moral implications of his job.
I praised Braugher for a “penetrating characterization of Smokey that opens a window onto the guard’s inner turmoil as he grapples with the dilemma of working within a system that has treated him unjustly.” Braugher was so good in the role it made me wish he did more theater.
But the important thing is that he gets a showcase for his multifarious skills. So I’ll gladly accept Braugher’s return to TV in “The Good Fight.” A good show is about to get better.